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Stretching for Everyday Fitness and for Running, Tennis, Raquetball; Cycling, Swimming, Golf, and Other Sports

184 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0394738741
ISBN-10: 0394738748
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Editorial Reviews Review

Anderson started running and cycling during the salad days of the fitness boom, when the goal was simply to go farther and farther. No one knew what all those miles would do for a body--or do to a body. One day he realized he could barely reach past his knees while sitting on the floor in a straight-legged position. His tight muscles thus revealed, he began a lifelong quest to figure out the secrets of flexibility.

His main discovery--and his core message to readers--is this: "Stretching feels good when done correctly," he writes. "You do not have to push limits or attempt to go further each day. It should not be a personal contest to see how far you can stretch."

The world of sports may have shifted away from Anderson's style of "static" stretching--holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds or longer--but in the everyday world, it's still considered the safest and easiest way for people to become more flexible.

The key to successful stretching, Anderson says, is not trying to do too much. "It's better to understretch than overstretch," he writes. The point of flexibility exercise, after all, is to protect yourself from injury or immobility. The worst thing you can do is hurt and ultimately immobilize yourself while trying to prevent those consequences.

Stretching contains hundreds of exercises, simply and clearly drawn by Jean Anderson, the author's wife. (In an eccentric twist, most of the figures in the drawings are shown wearing wool hats, which Mrs. Anderson designs and sells.) Routines are shown for getting up in the morning, for before and after walking or sitting, and for watching TV. Sport-specific routines include programs for weight training, basketball, golf, running, and many others. All are simple, safe, and as easy as you're willing to let them be. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Stretching is the vital link between the sedentary life and the active life. Stretching helps reverse the "creeping rigor mortis" of getting older. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Shelter Publications, Inc. (June 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394738748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394738741
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Cooper on July 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've used this book for several years in all the sport activities that I have been involved in. From my teenage years to my early 30's - I have found the stretches in this book to be a worthwhile endeavor. The author provides several stretching routines for a wide variety of activities. Secondly, there are drawings, which demonstrate the correct way to do these stretches. Stretching is an important part of any exercise regime and this book helps out by providing a necessary guide to stretching. The author points out the dangers of overstretching and gives the reader good advice for their regimes.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Alex Strasheim on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm writing to add to the praise that the other reviewers have heaped on this book. It's easy to read, and you really do feel better when you do the stretches. I'm a middle aged man, overweight, and not at all flexible, and I've found that it helps a lot. If you do the stretches, you'll literally start to feel better after two or three days. This is the only physical activity I've run across that pays off so quickly.
Someone else complained that certain types of stretches weren't included in the book. According to the text, some stretches were left out because they were risky -- people who don't know what they're doing might hurt themselves. Perhaps the missing isometric stretches that were mentioned fall into that category.
I don't have any back problems, but I do several stretches that target the back and spine as part of my daily routine. That's when I most appreciate the conservative approach taken by the authors, as it seems like there would be a lot of potential for trouble there. The fact that so many people with back problems do these stretches safely, and receive benefits from them, says something important about the book's approach.
I don't know if this is the quickest way to become more flexible. I do know that it's a good way to become more flexible, that it works, and that I haven't had any problems at all -- no pain, no injuries, nothing.
I like it a lot.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a book on stretching, go no place else, this is it. While there are other new theories on proper stretching technique for specific results, or muscle fibers or sports, this book and the techniques it teaches are widely considered the mainstream of stretching technique.
You will find stretches for almost every single muscle in your body. Diagrams of each stretch show proper stretching technique and where the tension should be felt. The book runs through each of the main stretches, suggests a program for everyday stretching, and has a number of sport-specific programs. Yes, the pencil diagrams are corny, but as soon as you get over that, you will realize there is a wealth of information in here.
Should you do yoga or stretching? Yoga w/ a tape or a class is certainly a mind/body event that many people enjoy as a part of their fitness routine. But for a fitness regimen, a 20 minute stretching routine every morning or night has advantages over yoga. Yoga is essentially stretching exercises combined with isometric weight resistance. But yoga can often overextend or place undue stress on the ligaments/tendons and often the positions are not stretching the full length of the muscle, and if they are the positions often stretch the muscle to its limit immediately, rather than gradually, which has been shown to provide better flexibility results. With regard to the isometrics, if you are looking to build strength and/or muscle you need the progressive weight resistance that free weights or machines will provide - the isometrics will not provide significant results.
Stretching on a regular basis (along w/ aerobics and eating right) will leave you feeling relaxed and energized and if there is one stretching book you should own, this has got to be it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm a fitness professional and I've been scouring bookstores for a decent stretch book that I could use to plan comprehensive stretch routines for my classes. Finally I found it. Stretching by Bob Anderson is the best stretch book I've found yet for my purposes.
The illustrations are quite good. They show a man with longish, curly hair wearing a wool ski hat--which struck me as funny. But then again, it was published in the 70s.
I like how this book is organized. It's separated into parts of the body, i.e. legs, neck etc. It also outlines sports specific stretch sequences which is helpful for the general public.
I don't like the fact that you have to read the text of each stretch to learn which specific muscles each stretch emphasizes.
Overall, I intend to use this book to plan stretch routines routinely. If you're a fitness professional looking for a stretch reference book, this is a pretty good one.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a massage therapist who is frequently recommending to clients that they incorporate more stretching into their lives. This is the book I point them to if they ask for a reference. It shows you various stretches for all parts of your body. It also combines those stretches in more than 30 routines for different parts of the day and almost two dozen sports and activities.
The strength of this book is two-fold: first, the illustrations are simple but detailed enough to be useful (something that a lot of books don't accomplish) and, second, the text is clear, easy to follow, and friendly. The author understands that most of us need to stretch and don't stretch nearly enough. No guilt trips, no technical terminology, no unreasonable expectations.
This book is written for the general public and also for athletes. I use it myself and recommend it comfortably.
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